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May 20, 2009

Shorties (Stone Roses, Grizzly Bear, and more)

At the top of my wish list: the remastered Stone Roses debut album collectors edition, which includes 3 CDs, 3 LPs, a DVD, a USB stick filled with video, 6 art prints, and a book. The set will be released on August 10th in the UK.

The Village Voice profiles Grizzly Bear while reviewing the band's new album, Veckatimest.

As for Droste, his grandfather was Harvard's music department head, his mother taught elementary school music, and his aunt plays classical cello. Still, he insists that he took more inspiration from listening to Liz Phair's Exile in Guyville than from Bach or Mozart. Like Phair, he doles out deeply personal (if somewhat obtuse) confessionals: On "Two Weeks," for instance, Droste uses his lilting falsetto to lament being apart from his interior-designer boyfriend, with whom he shares a one-bedroom apartment in South Williamsburg. (Sample lyric: "Save up all the days/A routine malaise/Just like yesterday/I told you I would stay.")

Paste interviews Jason Quever of Papercuts about the band's new album, You Can Have What You Want.

Paste: It seems like a lot of the songs have a dreamlike quality to them, almost as if I’m watching someone project their memory onto a screen.

Quever: I love that imagery that you used. That’s nice. That’s the way I’d like someone to describe it. That feels like it resonates with me, because it’s not stream-of-consciousness, but it’s not conversational, either. I think that seems right, like a recollection of a situation that’s kind of blurry. Also, a lot of people asked me what I listened to while I was making the record, and I was really into super-poppy stuff like Lykke Li. I thought maybe this was like an impressionistic version of that pop stuff. It’s hinting at something, but I don’t really like to go for the love song. It’s more personal, like weird memories or thoughts and dreamy kinds of things.

Decider New York interviews St. Vincent's Annie Clark.

The Cult of Tintin is a fan resource for the Herge comic.

WBGO examines the use of pseudonyms in jazz (to subvert contractual restrictions).

The Village Voice profiles singer-songwriter-cartoonist Jeffrey Lewis.

Lewis's music appeals to a certain sector of new-punk and comic-book geeks who enjoy squirming along to his earnestness. Wordy but not necessarily bookish, his best-loved songs are often painfully honest interior monologues about things like panic disorder ("Anxiety Attack"), uncomfortable LSD experiences ("The Last Time I Did Acid I Went Insane"), or having visions of being raped by a Will Oldham look-alike on the L train ("Williamsburg Will Oldham Horror"). His awkward onstage presence—he stands slouched over a beat-up acoustic guitar plastered with stickers—is as charming to his fans as it is unsettling to the mainstream.

On sale at Amazon MP3:

The Pains of Being Pure At Heart's 10-track self-titled album for $2.99
The Decemberists' 12-track 2007 album, The Crane Wife for $4.99

Slice Magazine interviews Paul Auster, Aleksandar Hemon, and others.

The Guardian reviews Guy Deslisle's cartoon travelogue, Burma Chronicles.

Burma Chronicles is the most enlightening and insightful book on Burma in years. The key to its success are Delisle's whimsical, black-and-white drawings, as well as his endearingly naïve and humorous self-portrait. Together his honesty and minimal line disarm the reader, drawing him or her into Delisle's life, learning as he learns the truth about the struggle for survival under the generals.

Creative Loafing Charlotte offers its summer reading suggestions.

Chicagoist previews this week's Pilcrow Litfest.

At NPR's Monitor Mix blog, Carrie Brownstein examines the convergence of music and television.

Then there was The Wonder Years. Thinking back, this may have been the first show I can remember watching that used popular music as a means of both embodying and legitimizing the era the show aimed to represent. Since The Wonder Years was exploring the 60's and 70's retroactively, the soundtrack acted as a mnemonic device. The music was just as much a part of the exploration and story as the visuals and plot.

Good Times Santa Cruz profiles Jenny Lewis.

Paste interviews John Vanderslice.

British television personality Jonathan Ross has started a Twitter book club.

At Empire, filmmaker Cameron Crowe lists the top 10 music moments in film.

Minnesota Public Radio interviews my favorite food author, Michael Pollan.

This week's Largehearted Boy giveaway: the new Alina Simone/Black Swan 7" single along with a Black Swans album and Alina Simone's complete back catalog.

Follow me on Twitter for links that don't make the daily "Shorties" columns.

also at Largehearted Boy:

Online "best of 2008" music lists
Online "best of 2008" book lists
daily mp3 downloads
Try It Before You Buy It (mp3s and full album streams from this week's CD releases)
weekly music & DVD release lists


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